Shakespeare said it best . . . "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
You see, it's not the name that makes the player, but the player that makes the name. Throughout the life of this blog, I've been questioned several times about which player is which, how they got their nickname, what does the nickname mean, etc. Well peeps, welcome to the first annual "What's in a Name" blog. Today's writings will deal with the who's who of the women's basketball program and how you can stay "in the 'No" with the nickname references of your favorite player. *
*= Author's note: Bonus points to those of you who caught the "In the 'No" reference! You are truly the wind beneath my wings!
Before I continue, I must enlighten you faithful readers that sometimes "it is what it is." There is not always some great anecdotal story of how each Bulldog comes to get their affectionate nickname. Sometimes I create the name from whatever lives in that massive (mostly empty) grey matter between my ears. Sometimes the players beat me to the punch. Sometimes you're in Tulsa, OK and The Cracker Barrel names the player for you (as in the case of Faith "Space" Probst). Or every once in awhile, it's that youngster who has one of those endearing moments where effort and humor collide (as in the case of when a child was asked what players name begins with an "F" which resulted in the answer "Feronica" which later become simply "Fern"). There's truly no set rhyme or reason to how we end up with the nicknames we use, but regardless, I hope after reading this entry you will be "in the 'No" with all the names we use.
*= Author's note: If you missed it the first go around, you just had a second chance to catch another "In the 'No" reference!
Before we get to our current roster, let's chat a minute about those that came before. Sadly, there's no way I'm talented enough to recall all players with all of their respective nicknames over the previous eight years here in Bulldogs land, but in the spirit of recognizing some alumni, let me begin with some of the classifications. Today we're going to break it down into these categories. 1) Shorten the name, 2) Anecdotal names, and 3) Milky Way names.
When you talk about shortening a name it can be to a single letter or a part of their given name. Examples of group number 1 started for us back in 2002-2003 with "O" (Omelego Udeze) and have ranged through the years to include "T" (Tierre Wilson), "E" (Erica Henry), "J" (Jalessa Ross), "H" (Hayley Munro), and "V" (Veronica Wilson). The sub-group of this classification is the shortened names such as: "Tea" (Chantea Fleming), "Ren" (Mirenda Swearengin), "Tella" (Chantella Perera), "A-Lo" (Angelica Lopez), "Taj" (Taja Edwards), "Nique" (Marnique Arnold), "Ro-Ro" (Rosie Moult), "Tay" (Taylor Thompson), and "Drenno" (Ali Drennan).
Our second classification is the anecdotal group. This is a tricky and many times all-inclusive type nickname meaning that all the members of the team know the reason and story, but it's not always shared with those outside the group. Take for instance the two aforementioned nicknames of "Space" and "Fern." These are names the members of the team are familiar with but they may not have transcended into public awareness. The same could be said for "Big Homey" (Jenny Thigpin), "D-Ray from da F-L-A" (Andrea Roberson), "Le Tigre" (Toni Atherley), and one of my all-time favorite names that you Orange County folks should know about is "Blue" (Mindy Clark) from the mean streets of La Habra.
The third group comes to us via The Milky Way. Those who have nicknames that truly just come from outer space with no apparent thought process. Examples of this group may include "Chewy" (Laura Garcia), "Princess" (Kayla Sanders), and "Phoncye" (Cophie Moore). Additional members of this group are those who continually get re-named throughout their career and fall into numerous categories. My best example here is that of Emma Andrews who has affectionately spent time as "The Baker, Frito, Em, Em-J and LaEmma Jaynique." Yes, this is truly the rarest of rares in the nickname universe and our beloved Emma has conquered such a feat!
So there you have some of the names we go by and some of the ways we come up with our official team nicknames. Here's my challenge to you faithful readers . . . WE NEED YOU!!! That's right Bulldog fans, a whole new batch of unnamed ladies will be joining our ranks in the next few weeks. If you know of an existing nickname for them or just want to throw a name in the hat send me your suggestions. Those who are vying for names include: Alex Furr, Jalei Kinder, and Blakely Goldberg. Unfortunately Breezy Farley and Ki Moore are already named. Get your suggestions in early and often. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't promise we'll use them, but we'll have a blast making them sweat it out!
That's it for this edition of "Just Being Frank." Stay tuned for the next installment, "I Come From the Land Down Under" appearing online in approximately two weeks. Have a Bulldog Day!